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Current Events 29 January 2017

 

NEWS 

29 JANUARY 2017

 

Sr. No.

Topic

News

1.

GS II : INTERNATIONAL USA

Trump restricts entry from 7 Muslim nations

2.

GS II :  POLITY ELECTIONS

EC: Ministries, departments cannot bypass us

3.

GS III : DEFENCE

Stealth frigate deal in choppy waters

4.

GS III : DISASTER MANAGEMENT

Refugees in their land as Ganga swallows home

5.

GS II : SOCIAL - HEALTH

States seek to allay fears over MR vaccine

6.

GS II : SOCIAL - HEALTH

Multidrug-resistant bacteria in China

7.

GS I : GEOGRAPHY

What is the Gibraltar Arc?

8.

GS II : INTERSTATE  WATER DISPUTE

Odisha rejects panel on Mahanadi

9.

GS III : ECONOMY

India Post gets payments bank licence

10.

GS III : ECONOMY

Bilateral trade hit by banks’ reluctance to transact with Iran

11.

GS II : BILATERAL INDIA SRI LANKA

Indian firms keen to rebuild Sri Lanka’s former war zone

12.

GS III :  S&T -SPACE

NASA marks 50 years of Apollo 1 fire

13.

GS II : SOCIAL - HEALTH

Why India needs to step up its fight

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GS II : INTERNATIONAL USA

Trump restricts entry from 7 Muslim nations

  • U.S. President Donald Trump has banned people from seven Muslim majority countries from entering the nation for 90 days and suspended admission of refugees for 120 days through an executive order on 27 January 2017.
  • The order has also indefinitely barred refugees from Syria.
  • Iraq, Iran, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Syria are the countries targeted by the order.
  • Iran said it would stop U.S. citizens entering the country in retaliation to Washington’s visa ban against Tehran and six other majority- Muslim countries announced by new U.S. President Donald Trump.

 

 

GS II :  POLITY ELECTIONS

EC: Ministries, departments cannot bypass us

  • Noting that the Ministries of Defence and Finance, besides NITI Aayog, had taken certain decisions that disturbed the level playing field in the pollbound States, the Election Commission (EC) requested the Cabinet Secretariat to issue instructions to all government departments for strict adherence to its guidelines.
  • Citing a March 2014 directive, the EC said all references of the Cabinet Committee should be routed through the Cabinet Secretariat and the matters of Ministries or government departments have to be referred by the Ministry concerned.
  • “The provisions of the Model Code of Conduct and various instructions... provide that the party in power, whether at the Centre or in States, shall ensure that no cause be given for any complaint that it uses its position to further its prospects in any election,” it said.

 

GS III : DEFENCE

Stealth frigate deal in choppy waters

  • The multi-billion dollar deal between India and Russia for four stealth frigates has run into trouble over pricing and local construction with Transfer of Technology (ToT).
  • India and Russia had signed an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) for four additional Krivak or Talwar class stealth frigates during bilateral discussions on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in October 2016.
  • As per the agreement, two ships are to be procured directly from Russia and two to be built in India with Russian assistance.
  • In the commercial offer submitted later, Russia has quoted about $990 million for the two ships to be directly imported.
  • For those to be built in India, the commercial offer quoted about $800 million for “supply of material to ensure construction of the two ships in India” and $51 million for “supply of project documentation” to ensure their construction.
  • The cost of construction of the two ships in an Indian yard — yet to be identified — was to be arrived at later.
  • Defence sources said this would steeply push up the overall cost of the two ships and it was seen as a way to ensure that all four ships were imported from Russia.
  • “It will be a serious setback to the Make-in-India initiative,” one official observed.
  • The basic structures of the two frigates are already ready at Yantar shipyard in Russia and will be finished once the contract is finalised.
  • The issue was discussed in detail by the Defence Acquisition Council at its meeting on November 7 which “compared the cost differential in the ships to be brought from Russia and those proposed to be built in India,” sources said.
  • India had earlier procured six frigates of the same class weighing 4,000 tonnes in two different batches.

 

GS III : DISASTER MANAGEMENT

Refugees in their land as Ganga swallows home

  • Another winter has passed but several thousand people who repeatedly get displaced in Murshidabad district, West Bengal, due to the erosion of the banks of the Ganga are going through the ordeal again, with no one bothered to take measures to prevent the erosion.
  • The river swallowed their houses and land again in between October and November 2016. The villagers claimed they have become “refugees” in their own country yet again.
  • This is not the first time that these people, mostly bidi workers and daily wage earners, have been displaced by the mighty river.
  • It has been going on for the last three decades.
  • The 120-km stretch of the right bank of the Ganges -- from Farakka to Jalangi in the district -- is especially prone to erosion.


 

 

GS II : SOCIAL - HEALTH

States seek to allay fears over MR vaccine

  • With five States in the country hoping to launch a massive measles-rubella (MR) vaccination drive to cover children above nine months and below 15 years of age from February 2017, questions have been raised about the immunisation drive in schools.
  • The project was to be initially rolled out in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Goa, Lakshadweep and Puducherry, as a public health move implemented through schools and camps.
  • But issues have cropped up as some parents of students in private schools have expressed apprehensions about re-vaccinating their children, even if they have been vaccinated with the older version of the Measles Mumps Rubella (MMR) vaccine earlier.
  • In Karnataka, parents have decided that they would not consent to this injection as they feel that the drive is “forced re-immunisation”.
  • In Tamil Nadu too, some opposition is seen from parents, though perhaps not on the scale as witnessed in the neighbouring State. Here, there is some confusion on the implementation of the project.

GS II : SOCIAL - HEALTH

Multidrug -resistant bacteria in China

  • The mcr-1 gene — a gene that makes bacteria resistant to colistin, an antibiotic of last resort, and that is transferrable between bacteria — has been found in a wide variety of strains of Escherichia coli in China following widespread use of colistin in agriculture since 1980s.
  • As China prepares to introduce the drug for the first time in human medicine, two new studies published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases provide evidence of how widely the mcr-1 gene has spread to bacteria in clinical settings, including to a minority already resistant to the carbapenem class of antibiotics, and highlight the need for caution and careful prescribing when the country introduces colistin.
  • Colistin was recently banned for use in agriculture in China, and will soon be introduced in clinical use for the first time.


 

 

GS I : GEOGRAPHY

What is the Gibraltar Arc?

  • The Gibraltar Arc is a geological region, considered one of the narrowest landforms on Earth.
  • A team of Andalusian scientists, led by the University of Granada (UGR), has been able to reconstruct for the first time what the Gibraltar Arc was like 9 million years ago.
  • The researchers have been able to prove that, since then, large blocks of land, with sizes about 300 kilometres long and 150 kilometres wide, have rotated clockwise (in the case of the Baetic System mountain range) and counter-clockwise (in the case of the Rif mountain range, in the north of Morocco).
  • The said movements have completely reshaped the Gibraltar Arc, since they have been carried out at a very high speed: 6° per million years (in total, 53° for the block of the Western Baetic System), and are compatible with both the opening of the Strait of Gibraltar about 5 million years ago as with the current movements measured with GPS.

 


 GS II : INTERSTATE WATER DISPUTE

Odisha rejects panel on Mahanadi

  • Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik informed Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the Odisha government has rejected the Centre’s negotiation committee on Mahanadi river water dispute with Chhattisgarh.
  • Mr. Patnaik in his letter, however, said he was open to attending a meeting at the Prime Minister’s level as a last chance to settle the river water dispute through dialogue.
  • Pending formation of the tribunal, he requested the Prime Minister that Chhattisgarh be immediately directed to stop works of the ongoing project on Mahanadi basin.
  • Noting that the negotiation committee would only delay the setting up of the tribunal as demanded by Odisha, Mr. Patnaik said the State would allow Chhattisgarh to complete the construction of the disputed projects.
  • On Odisha’s rejection of the negotiation committee, Mr. Patnaik said: “The committee is not in accordance with the provisions of Sec 4(1) of the Inter-State Rover Water Dispute Act of 1956 and its composition is arbitrary.”


 


GS III : ECONOMY

India Post gets payments bank licence

  • India Post has received payments bank licence from the Reserve Bank of India to start roll-out of banking operations commercially under the permit.
  • India Post Payments Bank is the third entity to receive payments bank permit after Bharti Airtel and Paytm.
  • Payments banks can accept deposits up to Rs.1 lakh per account from individuals and small businesses.
  • The new model allows mobile firms, supermarket chains and others to cater to banking requirements of individuals and small businesses.
  • It will be set up as a differentiated bank and will confine its activities to acceptance of demand deposits, remittance services, Internet banking and other specified services.
  • In 2015, RBI had granted ‘in-principle’ approval to 11 entities to set up payments banks.



 

 

GS III : ECONOMY

Bilateral trade hit by banks’ reluctance to transact with Iran

  • India’s trade with Iran is yet to be fully normalised even a year after the lifting of international sanctions on Tehran.
  • Indian exporters are complaining of difficulties faced by them due to some Indian nationalised banks refusing to deal with Iran-related transactions, according to the apex body for exporters in the country, the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO).
  • This is despite the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), in a notification in May 2016, specifying that payment or remittance or reimbursement can be made from or to Iran in any freely convertible currency for imports from Iran and exports to that country.
  • Previously, following the sanctions on Iran over its nuclear activities, both the nations had agreed in 2012 that 45% of India’s oil import payments to Iran would be paid in rupees and deposited in UCO Bank as that bank hardly had an exposure to U.S. or European Union.
  • In turn, Iran was to utilise that amount to pay for its imports from India.
  • It is learnt that the balance in the rupee account may not be sufficient to cover three months of India’s exports to Iran.
  • India’s trade with Iran in FY’16 was $9 billion, of which $6.3 billion were imports from Iran (of which $4.5 billion was the oil import bill), while India’s exports were worth only $2.7 billion.
  • Exporters and importers have been advised to carry out their transactions in currencies such as the Euro wherever possible, the official said, adding that banks still have apprehensions that the U.S. regulators could take arbitrary decisions on Iran-related transactions.

 

GS II : BILATERAL - INDIA - SRI LANKA

Indian firms keen to rebuild Sri Lanka’s former war zone

  • The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) will explore the “virgin market” in Jaffna, located in Sri Lanka’s Tamil-majority Northern Province, for possible business collaborations and to help commercially rebuild the former war-zone, a representative of the trade body said.
  • Representatives of about 65 Indian companies, ranging from textiles to engineering, are participating in the Jaffna International Trade Fair 2017 that commenced on January 27.
  • Information is now been sought from the Jafna Chamber of Commerce on labour policies, land, taxation, and the availability of water and electricity there.
  • Some Indian companies may even consider acquiring sick industries for revival.

 

GS III :  S&T -SPACE

NASA marks 50 years of Apollo 1 fire

  • NASA marked the 50th anniversary of its moon programme’s fatal Apollo launchpad fire with the first public display of the scorched hatch that trapped three astronauts inside their spaceship during a routine pre-launch test.
  • NASA astronauts Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chafee died when thick smoke filled the crew module of the Apollo 1 capsule on January 27, 1967, in what was the first deadly accident in the space agency’s early days.
  • The men were unable to open the capsule’s three-part hatch before being overcome by smoke.
  • Investigators discovered several problems with the Apollo capsule design that led to the fire, including an electrical wiring issue, a pure-oxygen environment and flammable materials throughout the crew cabin.
  • NASA made dozens of changes and resumed flying in October 1968, setting the stage for the historic Apollo 11 lunar landing in July 1969.

GS II : SOCIAL - HEALTH

Why India needs to step up its fight

  • India’s fight against leprosy — 16 years after being eliminated globally as a public health issue — is far from over.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) asked South-East Asian countries, including India which accounted for 60% of such cases worldwide in 2015, to focus on preventing disabilities in children.
  • According to WHO, leprosy affected 2,12,000 people globally in 2015. India alone reported 1,27,326 new cases, accounting for 60% of new cases globally.
  • The other high-burden countries were Brazil and Indonesia.
  • Of the new cases, 8.9% were children and 6.7% presented with visible deformities. The remaining 10,286 new cases (5%) were reported by 92 countries. Thirty countries reported zero new cases.
  • India is among the 22 countries considered as having a “high burden for leprosy” along with high transmission.
  • Global statistics show that 1,99,992 (94%) of new cases were reported from 14 countries reporting more than 1,000 new cases each. Only 6% of new cases were reported from the rest of the world.
  • While the mode of transmission of leprosy is not known, the most widely held belief is that the disease was transmitted by contact between those with leprosy and healthy persons.
  • More recently, the possibility of transmission by the respiratory route is gaining ground.
  • There are also other possibilities such as transmission through insects which cannot be completely ruled out.
  • Although leprosy affects both sexes, in most parts of the world males are affected more frequently than females, often in the ratio of 2:1, according to WHO’s Global Leprosy Report.
  • World Leprosy Day is observed on the last Sunday of January since 1954.
  • In 2016, WHO launched the Global Leprosy Strategy 2016–2020: Accelerating towards a leprosy-free world, with the aim of reinvigorating efforts to control leprosy and avert disabilities, especially among children still affected by the disease in endemic countries.
  • India, which is among the endemic countries, has been advised to include strategic interventions in national plans to meet the new targets, such as screening all close contacts of persons affected by leprosy; promoting a shorter and uniform treatment regimen, and incorporating specific interventions against stigmatisation and discrimination.

 

 

 

 

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